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Genus of the Week

Week of March 8-14

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This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you should also visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family.

This week's genus:


Subclass: Dicotyledoneae
Superorder: Rosidae
Order: Rhamnales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Number of Species: at least 70
Root: Rhamnus is the name of an ancient coastal city located in Greece.

Plants in the genus Rhamnus are usually trees, and are characterized by their thorn-tipped branches, from which the genus gets its common name, "Buckthorn". The bark and berries of different species can be used to produce various yellow and green dyes. The juice of the berries has been used herbally as a purgative. At least two of the European species, R. cathartica and R. frangula, have become naturalized in North America and are often considered invasive.

Here are some links to images and information for the genus Rhamnus:


  1. Grieve, M. (C. F. Leyel, ed.). A Modern Herbal. London, Tiger Books International: 1973.
  2. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
  3. Little, Elbert L., ed. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees, Eastern Region. New York, Alfred A. Knopf: 1980.

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